Scottish Daily Mail

The num­ber of Mus­lims in Europe reaches 44m

- By Ian Drury Home Af­fairs Cor­re­spon­dent Terrorism · UK News · Middle East News · Politics · European Union · Europe · Germany · Netherlands · United States of America · Russia · Russian Empire · France · United Kingdom · Belgium · Algeria · London · Saudi Arabia · Saudi Arabia national football team · Tunisia · Tunisia national football team · Jordan · Middle East · Luton · Islamophobia · Paris · Eu · King's College London · The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence · Rossiya Segodnya · Islamic Human Rights Commission · Muslim Council of Britain · ICM Research · International Confederation of Midwives

THE Paris at­tacks have drawn re­newed at­ten­tion to Europe’s grow­ing Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion.

In sev­eral Euro­pean coun­tries such as Ger­many and the Nether­lands, se­ri­ous con­cerns have been raised about the chal­lenges of in­te­gra­tion.

The Mus­lim share of Europe’s to­tal pop­u­la­tion has been in­creas­ing steadily by about 1 per­cent­age point a decade – from 4 per cent in 1990 to 6 per cent in 2010.

Ac­cord­ing to the US-based Pew Re­search Cen­ter think-tank, the num­ber of Mus­lims in Europe is about 44mil­lion. Within EU coun­tries, the fig­ure is around 19mil­lion.

In Europe, Rus­sia’s pop­u­la­tion of 14mil­lion Mus­lims – 10 per cent of its to­tal – is the largest on the con­ti­nent.

In the EU, Ger­many and France have the big­gest Mus­lim pop­u­la­tions, both be­ing home to around 4.7mil­lion. By con­trast, the UK has about 2.9mil­lion Mus­lims – the third largest num­ber.

How­ever, at 7.5 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion, France has the high­est pro­por­tion of Mus­lims of any ma­jor na­tion in Western Europe. Stud­ies sug­gest this will pass 10

‘An in­cu­ba­tor for ter­ror­ism’

per cent by 2030. Mus­lims make up 6 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion in the Nether­lands, 5.9 per cent in Bel­gium, 5.8 per cent in Ger­many and 4.8 per cent in the UK.

The French cap­i­tal of Paris and its met­ro­pol­i­tan area also has more Mus­lims than any other city in the EU – an es­ti­mated 1.7mil­lion. This is partly due to the legacy of the bit­ter war for Al­ge­ria, France’s Mus­lim for­mer colony, in the 1950s.

Ten­sions sur­round­ing France’s Mus­lim com­mu­nity have long been sim­mer­ing in the ban­lieues – vast con­crete slums dom­i­nated by im­mi­grants.

This has led com­men­ta­tors to ques­tion whether th­ese Paris sub­urbs are an ‘in­cu­ba­tor for ter­ror­ism’. It also helps to ex­plain why Paris ap­pears to be a more fruit­ful re­cruit­ing ground for Is­lamic State than cities in some other western coun­tries.

De­spite a num­ber of anti-rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion cam­paigns by the French au­thor­i­ties, the gov­ern­ment has seem­ingly been un­able to pre­vent con­sid­er­able num­bers of young Mus­lims veer­ing to­wards ex­trem­ism.

Ear­lier this year, a re­port by King’s Col­lege Lon­don’s In­ter­na­tional Cen­tre for the Study of Rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion and Po­lit­i­cal Violence found that only Saudi Ara­bia, Tu­nisia, Rus­sia and Jor­dan had more of their own fight­ing with IS than France. Ac­cord- ing to the study, an es­ti­mated 1,200 fight­ers trav­elled from France to wage ji­had, com­pared to around 600 from the UK.

Home-grown terror in France has been blamed on re­sent­ment among some dis­af­fected young Mus­lims, who of­ten face dis­crim­i­na­tion in em­ploy­ment and hous­ing.

Last year, a sur­vey by ICM Re­search for the Rus­sian news agency Ros­siya Se­god­nya found a shock­ing one in six French cit­i­zens sup­ported IS. How­ever, a Pew Re­search Cen­ter poll from 2009 found 35 per­cent of French Mus­lims were con­cerned about Is­lamic ex­trem­ism. Among Bri­tish Mus­lims, the fig­ure was 52 per cent.

Yes­ter­day, a Lon­don-based Mus­lim group caused out­rage by blam­ing the West for Fri­day night’s at­tacks in Paris.

The Is­lamic Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion, which has called for the release of terror chiefs, said the atroc­ity was fu­elled by ‘un­eth­i­cal’ western for­eign pol­icy.

It said in a state­ment: ‘The cold-blooded mur­der of scores of in­no­cent civil­ians ... can find no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion any­where, let alone in the tenets of a world faith fol­lowed by over one-and-a-half bil­lion peo­ple.

‘How­ever we should not let our anger and con­dem­na­tion of a de­praved group ob­scure the fact that western in­ter­ven­tion in the Mid­dle East is re­spon­si­ble for both the ori­gins and con­tin­ued strength of [IS].’

Other UK groups such as the Mus­lim Coun­cil of Bri­tain roundly con­demned the terror at­tacks. And Mus­lims in Lu­ton took to the streets to show their out­rage, many with signs read­ing ‘Not In My Name’.

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